March 2024 Concerts

31 March 2024 – Jane Williams’ Jazz Quintet featuring Andy Leggett:  This is the second time for this band to come to SJS.   The band consists of Jane Williams (leader) on ukulele and vocals, Mike Frost on guitar, Bill Lynn on string bass, Greg Evans on drums and 82 on the day of this concert was the great Andy Leggett on reeds including bass saxophone.   They opened with ‘All Of Me’ and continued with ‘Blue Moon’, ‘You Don’t Know Me’, ‘S’Wonderful’, ‘Poor Papa’, ‘I Put A Spell On You’, ‘Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby’, ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’, ‘After You’re Gone’, ‘I’m Lazy That’s All’, ‘Almost Like Being in Love’, ‘I Thought About You’, ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing’, ‘There Was A Boy’, ‘I Want A Big Butter And Egg Man’ and ‘Straighten Up And Fly Right’.  The music hit the spot and the band received a standing ovation at the conclusion of the session.  Looking forward to hearing more from this great band.

24 March 2024 – Richard Leach’s Street Band:  The band consists of Richard Leach (leader) on trombone, Tony Pipkin on cornet and vocals, Zoltan Sagi on clarinet + alto sax, Dave Deakin on sousaphone, Mark Challinor on guitar, banjo, ukulele and vocals and Nick Ward on vintage percussion.  They opened with ‘Three Little Words’ and went on with ‘Carry Me Back To Old Virginia’, ‘Buddy’s Habits’, ‘Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans’, ‘Let The Light From The Lighthouse Shine On Me’, ‘Stevedore Stomp’, ‘Smiles’, ‘Swing That Music’, ‘That’s A Plenty’, ‘September in the Rain’, ‘ San Francisco Bay Blues’, ‘Body And Soul’, ‘Bogalusa Strut’, ‘From Monday On’, ‘Old Shanty Town’ and ‘Wolverine Blues’.  What a lovely concert by gifted musicians.  We look forward to them returning to play for us in the next season.

17 March 2024 – Jake Leg Jug Band:  This well known band has Duncan Wilcox (leader) on double bass and vocals, Cohen Wilcox on washboard, Warren James on guitar, banjo and vocals, Richard Leach on trombone and Andy Henderson on Trumpet.  They opened with ‘I Can’t Dance – Got Ants in my Pants’, and continued with ‘Mouthful O’ Jam’, ‘On The Road Again’, ‘ Goodbye Booze’, ‘Some Day You’ll Be Sorry’, ‘I Belong to the Band, Hallelujah’, ‘Light from the Lighthouse’, ‘Let the Midnight Special Shine a Light on Me’, ‘Ezekiel Saw The Wheel’, ‘Killin’ Jive’, ‘St Louis Blues’, Meeting At The Building’, ‘They Hung Him On A Cross’, ‘Ella Speed’, ‘He’s In The Jailhouse Now’, ‘Hot Nuts’, finishing with ‘Alabama Blues’.  Such a full programme and they tell me that they are bringing out a full CD of gospel blues which they will be playing in the coming season in churches.  Perhaps the funniest thing was watching Warren play the jug … but at least he did try.  Look forward to seeing them again in the not too distant future.

10 March 2024 – Kevin Grenfell’s Jazz Giants:  This band is such a mixture of humour and jazz and comprises Kevin Grenfell (leader) on trombone, trumpet and vocals – and of course humour, Jeremy Huggett on reeds, Richard Hughes on piano, Simon Smith on double bass and ‘Baby’ Jools Aldridge on drums.   They opened with ‘Hindustan’ and went on to play ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Love’, ‘Gonna Take A Sentimental Journey’, ‘Pennies from Heaven’, ‘Up A Lazy River’, ‘Hello Dolly’, ‘That’s Why the Lady is a Tramp’, ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’, ‘I’ve Found a New Baby’, ‘There Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens and as usual they ended with ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’.  Smiley faces and tapping feet (and a little bit of quiet singing along) said the audience really liked this programme and this band so we look forward to seeing more of them next year.

3 March 2024 – Fret & Fiddle:   This 5-piece band regularly plays for Stafford Jazz Society.  The band comprises Sally Whitham (leader) on jazz violin and vocals, Andy Bole on guitar, Richard Hughes on piano, Simon Smith on string bass and Steve Street on drums.  Their opening number was the lovely ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and they went on to play ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love Baby’, ‘Tiko Tiko’, ‘ There Once Was a Boy’, ‘Chikita’, ‘The Autumn Leaves’, ‘Misirlou’, ‘Take the A Train’, ‘J’entendre’, ‘Softly As In The Morning Sunlight’, ‘Make Me A Pallet’, ‘Tiger Rag’, ‘I’m Ready’, ‘Caravan’, ‘Chocolate Jesus’, ‘Jeeves & Wooster’, ‘Riding the Rails’ and ending with ‘Csardas’.  What a lovely mixture and little wonder the audience were on their feet to applaud them.  We look forward to seeing them again.

February 2024 Concerts

Bob Dwyer’s Celeb 6 – 25 February 2024:  Playing together for the first time we do know most of the musicians.  The band consisted of Bob Dwyer (leader) on trombone and vocals, Jon Penn on piano, Marc Easener on string bass, Matt Palmer on reeds, Pete Rudeforth on trumpet and vocals and Nick Ward on vintage percussion.  They opened with ‘Riverboat Shuffle’ and went on with ‘I’m Coming Virginia’, ‘The Love Nest’, ‘Apex Blues’, ‘Struttin’ With Some Barbecue’, ‘Baby Won’t You Please Come Home’, ‘The Original Dixieland One Step’, ‘Nagasaki’, ‘Weary Blues’, ‘ There Will Never Be Another You’, ‘Perdido Street Blues’, ‘Davenport Blues’ (a trumpet solo), ‘Running Wild’, ‘Jazz Me Blues’, ‘Chevy Chase’ (a piano rag solo) and ending with ‘So Do I’.  A good show and one enjoyed by all.

Sarah Spencer’s Sax ‘N’ Bone Band – 18 February 2024: What music, what joy.  With Sarah Spencer (leader) on saxophone, Mike Owen on trombone, Jim “Lord” Swinnerton on bass, Graham Smith on drums, Rachel Hayward on banjo and Zoltan Sagi on reeds it was difficult to believe this band was making it’s debut today at the White Eagle Club.  They opened with ‘My Memphis Baby’ and went on with, in no particular order, ‘I’ll Always Be In Love’, ‘Bogalusa’, ‘On Moonlight Bay’, ‘Whenever You’re Lonesome’, ‘Willie The Weeper’, ‘Walking with My Baby’, ‘Ice Cream’, ‘On A Coconut Island’, ‘When We Dance’, ‘Oh How I Miss You’ and ‘I Can’t Escape’.  This was all good listening and was greeted with much enthusiasm by the audience.

Warren “Lonnie” James & His Skiffle Band – 11 February 2024:  What a show!!  Warren “Lonnie” James on guitar and banjo and vocals was accompanied on this occasion by Jim “Lord” Swinnerton on bass, drummer “Baby” Jools Aldridge, Mke Owen on trombone and special guest lead guitarist Howard Gregory.  Songs were: ‘Hard Travellin’, ‘Keep on the Sunnyside’, ‘Cotton Fields Back Home’, ‘Wreck of Old 97’, ‘My Dixie Darling’, ‘Take My Hand Precious Lord’, ‘Jessie James’, ‘Railroad Bill’, ‘Goin’ Down Road Feeling Bad’, ‘Rambling Round Your Town’. ‘Steam Line Train’, ‘Can’t Ya Line Em’, ‘Midnight Special’, ‘New Buryin Ground’, ‘Worried Man’, ‘I Don’t Want No Other Baby’, ‘Light from the Lighthouse’, ‘Green Corn’, ‘Take This Hammer’, ‘This Train is Bound for Glory’, ‘Freight Train’ and finishing with ‘Last Train to San Fernando’ (and there were many there joining in with this one especially).  Now like the professional he is Warren interspersed the music with information about how skiffle came about, the American Civil War, Slavery, Depression, Rent House Parties and explained how initially each county in the USA had its own style of music but when it travelled it grew into something wonderful to hear after radio stations began playing different styles of music – folk, country, skiffle and gospel.  I could go on but I won’t.  It was a real education and if you’ve not heard this show I urge you find out where it’s at and get yourself a ticket or two.

Jeremy Huggett’s Jazz & Boogie Band – 4 February 2024:  This five piece classic jazz and boogie combo comprised Jeremy Huggett (leader) on piano and vocals, Alex Clarke on saxophones, Kevin Grenfell on trombone, trumpet, vocals (and jokes), Simon Smith on bass and Steve Palmer on drums.  Their opening number was ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing’, one of the favourites.  This was followed by:  ‘Josephine’, ‘Lady Be Good’, ‘Some Day You’ll Be Sorry’, ‘Take the A Train’, ‘St Louis Blues’, ‘I’m Walking’, ‘Margie’, ‘Bei Mir Bistu Shein’ (My Dear My Shane), ‘Oh Baby What You Gonna Do’, ‘I’m Confessing That I Love You’, ‘The Hucklebuck’, ‘Summer Time’ and finishing with a rip roaring version of ‘Steam Line Train’ which had feet bouncing.  What a lovely concert.  We look forward to seeing them again.

January 2024 Concerts

7 January 2024 – No Concert

Paula Jackman’s Jazz Masters – 14 January 2024:  Making its debut at Stafford Jazz Society was this lovely band consisting of leader, Paula Jackman, on clarinet and vocals, “Magic” Mike Henry on trumpet/cornet, Alistair Allan on trombone and vocals, Marc Easener on sousaphone, Graham Collicott on drums and Paul Higgs (sitting in for Hugh Crozier who is unwell) on piano.  In no particular order some of the songs played were: ‘The Bodiga Street Blues’, ‘Honeysuckle Rose’, ‘I’m Craze ‘bout my Baby’, ‘The Gypsy’, ‘Singing the Blues’, ‘The Apex Blues’, ‘You Meet The Nicest People in Your Dreams’, ‘La Vie en Rose’, ‘Why Don’t You Go Down to New Orleans’, ‘Putting on the Ritz’, ‘Stardust’ and ‘You Must See What You Mean to Me’.  The concert was well received and we hope to see them again soon.

Andy Leggett’s Centenary Serenaders – 21 January 2024:  Back with us once more was this smashing band consisting of leader Andy Leggett on reeds and vocals, Ceri Williams on trumpet, Dave Deakin on trombone, Rachel Hayward on guitar and banjo, Joe Trudgeon on string bass and Dave Andrews on drums.  They opened with ‘Black Cat on the Fence’ and went on to play ‘Jazz Band Ball’, ‘Wabash Blues’, ‘Cake Walkin’ Babies’, ‘Savoy Blues’, ‘Milenburg Joys’, ‘Melancholy’, ‘Mama’s Gone Goodbye’, ‘ Honeysuckle Rose’ complete with vocals from Joe, ‘Dans les Rues d’Antibes’ in the first half and in the second half they went on with ‘Panama’, ‘I Get the Blues when It Rains’, ‘Breeze’, ‘Ory’s Creole Trombone’, ‘Beale Street Mama’, ‘Coffee Grinder’, ‘The Mooch’ (which I just love), ‘Royal Garden Blues’ and finishing with ‘Louisiana’.  You will be wondering how I know all this … well I took a photo of their play list!!  Great music by great musicians.  Hope to see them again soon.

That Big Band – 28 January 2024:  This band was previously called the Sax Shack Big Band.  Based in the Potteries, this is a 19-piece combo which blends established musicians with a raft of rising stars.   Their repertoire is a mix of classic tunes and contemporary numbers.  On baritone sax is lead Chris Davies, and their vocalist is Charlotte Hayes.  Their opening number was, appropriately enough, ‘Strike Up The Band’.  They went on to perform ‘Fight the Foo Bird’, ‘People’, ‘Where or When’, a couple of vocals ‘Summertime’ and ‘The Look of Love’, ‘Lil Darlin’’, ‘A String of Pearls’, ‘Take the A Train’, ‘Zip-a-dee-doo-da’, ‘Pegasus’, ‘Samantha’, ‘That’s Life’ (and yes, not the Esther Rantzen theme tune!), a couple more vocals with ‘At Last’ and ‘Moon River’, ‘Beauty and The Beast’, ‘Airstream’ and finally closing with a rousing ‘Caravan’.  It was quite a squash getting everyone in but somehow they managed it, with a front row off stage.  We look forward to welcoming them back again next year.

December 2023 Concerts

Mike Owen’s Christmas Cracker Band – 17 December 23:  The band had Mike Owens on trombone and vocals (leader), Sarah Spencer on reeds and vocals, Ian Wynne on piano, Richard Vernon on double bass and Graham Smith on drums.   They opened with ‘Tie Me To Your April Strings Again’ and went on in no particular order with ‘What A Friend We Have in Jesus’, ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘We’ll Meet Again’, ‘You’ve Got to Give Me Some’, ‘Turkey Ain’t Nothing But A Bird’, ‘When Your Hair Has Turned to Silver’, ‘I’ll be Home for Christmas’, ‘I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire’, ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ and a solo by Ian Wynne with ‘Dorothy’.  There are others I missed but this gives you a very festive flavour of today’s concert.  Lovely band, good musicians, mince pies and free hot drinks … what more can one ask.

Debonaires Little Big Band – 10 December 23:  This band, consisting of Max Debon (leader) on trumpet and vocals, Sarah Eastwood on clarinet and vocals, Rick Halliwell on alto sax, Anne Holder on tenor sax, Austin Ralphson on trombone, Peter Wilson on piano, Jon Burr on bass and Rob Turner on drums played a mixture of jump jive, swing and jazz from the early jazz and swing era.  They opened with ‘Sing Sing Sing’, and went on with ‘My Blue Heaven’, ‘You Gotta See Mama every Night or You Won’t See Mama at All’, ‘Blues in the Night’, ‘Route 66’, ‘The Folks Who Live on the Hill’, ‘Why Don’t You Do Right’, ‘Fever’, ‘Come To The Cabaret’, ‘Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps’, ‘It’s Too Darn Hot’, ‘Apple Honey’, ‘Don’t Get Around Much Any More’, ‘Bandstand Boogie’, ‘Tiger Rag’, ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy’, ‘Mack the Knife’, ‘All That Jazz’ and ‘Mambo Italiano’.  If I have left anything out forgive me but you get the picture – something for everyone all played by some great musicians and sung by a little lady with a big voice.   We look forward to seeing them again perhaps next year.

Wabash Jazzmen featuring Nick Ward – 3 December 23:   We welcomed back this traditional New Orleans jazz rooted band in all the snow and misery of the start of winter proper.  However the music certainly cheered us up.  The band was made up of leader Mark Challinor on banjo, guitar and ukulele with vocals, Mike Hayler on reeds, Richard Leach on trombone, Tony Pipkin on cornet, trumpet and occasional vocals, Richard Vernon on string bass and the redoubtable Nick Ward on vintage percussion.   They opened with ‘Bobalusa Strut’ and finished up with ‘Weary Blues’ and in between some of the numbers were: ‘China Boy’, ‘There’s a Rainbow Round My Shoulders’, ‘Bell Chimes’, ‘Maori’, ‘Muskrat Rebel’, ‘Route 66’ (always a favourite of mine since I did Route 66 in an open top hire car way back), ‘I Never Knew That Roses Grew’, ‘Davenport Blues’, ‘Come Back Sweet Papa’, ‘The Blue Blood’ and ‘From Monday On’ to name some of them.  They were well received by the few hardy  people who made it to the concert and this fabulous concert was their reward.  See you again Wabash.

November 2023 Concerts

Bob Dwyer’s Bix & Pieces – 26 November 2023:   This well known band is always welcome by SJS.  Leader, Bob Dwyer, plays trombone and sings, Paula Jackman is on reeds, Mike “Magic” Henry is on trumpet, Hugh Crozier on piano and vocals, Marc Easener on sousaphone and Dennis Smith on drums makes up a very enjoyable six-piece band who play a mix of the traditional styles of jazz influenced, as the name suggests, by the legendary Bix Beiderbecke.  They opened with ‘I want a Big Butter & Egg Man’ and went on to play ‘Ain’t She Pretty’, a lovely clarinet solo ‘Into Freedom’, ‘That Da Da Strain’, ‘Davenport Blues’, ‘100 Years from Today’, ‘Good Morning Blues’, ‘At the Jazz Band Ball’, ‘Savoy Blues’, a piano solo with ‘Jellyroll Blues’, ‘Body and Soul’, ‘You were Meant For Me’, ‘Caldonia’ and finishing with ‘So Do I’.  What a lovely way to spend a Sunday lunchtime.  We are looking forward to seeing this group again in the coming year.

Richard Hughes’ Fugue and Groove Trio with Jeremy Huggett – 19 November 2023:  Well this was something completely new.   This exciting new combo and Jeremy combining both jazz and classical elements which meant there was something for everyone.  Leader, Richard Hughes was on keyboard, Steve Street on drums, Simon Smith on bass and Jeremy Huggett on various saxophones, flute and clarinet, opened with ‘Softly as in a Morning Sunrise’.  This was followed by a Gershwin medley – The Man I Love, Fascinating Rhythm and I Got Rhythm, and, in no particular order the following:  ‘Salut d’Amor’ (English equivalent of love letter), ‘Caravan’, ‘Down by The Riverside’, ‘Meditation’, ‘Jesu Joy’, ‘Honeysuckle Rose’, ‘The Falling Leaves’ and ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’.  The programme also included a Turkish march, ‘Air on a G String’, music by Beethoven and Elgar, you name it all was included.  The music was a hypnotic mix and I would encourage you all to go see this new kid on the block.  You will not be disappointed.

Golden Eagle Jazz Band – 12 November 2023:  This was a new band for me although I knew some faces.  With Kevin Scott as leader on tenor banjo and guitar, Alan Cresswell on clarinet, Roy Bowden on drums, Richard Church on trumpet, Brian Butler on trombone and Chris ‘Thumper’ Thompson on double bass this group went down very well.   They opened with ‘It Ain’t No Use to Cry’ and went on with ‘Roses of Piccardy’, ‘Moose March’, ‘Give Me That Old Time Religion’, ‘The Streets of the City’ (probably better known as Red River Valley), ‘My Memphis Baby’, ‘After You’ve Gone’, ‘Highways are Happy Ways’, ‘In The Good Ol’ Summer Time’, ‘Tie Me To Your Apron Strings Again’, ‘Bogalusa Strut’, ‘In The Shade of the Old Apple Tree’ and ‘My Gal Sal’ and ‘Laissez le Bon Temps Rouler’ (in English Let the Good Times Roll) to name some of the numbers we enjoyed.  The  drummers kit came from New Orleans where it was originally owned by a lady called Abbie Williams.   This band’s mission is to play New Orleans jazz in the way it was meant to be played, with a powerful melodic front line and a hard driving rhythm section.  Job done!  Smashing.

5 November 2023 – No Concert

October 2023 Concerts

Savannah Jazzband – 29 October:  What a cracker of a performance today by this great band.  Brian “Sam” Ellis on trombone and keyboard is the leader and is joined by Graham Smith on drums, Tony Pollitt on Bass, Chris Marney on banjo, Richard Church on trumpet (and not any old trumpet but one which had belonged to Ken Collier) and vocals and Roger Bird on reeds and vocals.  The house was packed with not a spare seat in sight and boy were they not disappointed.  Some of the numbers included:  ‘Martha’, ‘When Your Hair Has Turned To Silver’, ‘Canal Street Blues’, ‘Whilst We Dance At The Mardi Gras’, ‘You Are My Sunshine’, ‘Honky Tonk Town’, ‘Maryland’, ‘Hello Central Give Me Dr Jazz’, ‘Way Down in Mississippi’, ‘Louisiana’, and probably the best rendition I have heard which had us all laughing was the slightly corrupted ‘St James Infirmary’ with a major chunk being devoted to Sam being eaten by the lion all in his best clothes which vexed his mum.  Smashing, super and many other words to describe the enjoyment, musicianship and fun we have had today.  We look forward to their return.

Bateman Brothers’ Jazz Band – 22 October 2023:  These musicians, who all played in their time with one of the famous bands such as Ball, Barber or Bilk, have come together to present ‘A Tribute to Louis Armstrong and his All Stars’.  Ian Bateman is on trombone, Alan Bateman on trumpet and vocals, Trevor Whiting on clarinet, Craig Milverton on piano, Tom Clarke-Hill on bass and Nick Millward on drums.  As the concert was in celebration of SJS 43rd anniversary there was also a brolly parade.  Some of the numbers included:  ‘It’s Sleepy Time Down South’, ‘Now You Has Jazz’, ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, ‘The Gypsy’, ‘Time After Time’, ‘Pretty Little Missy’, ‘Mack the Knife’, ‘My Bucket’s Got A Hole in It’, ‘C’est Si Bon’, ‘Lonesome Blues’, ‘Twelve Street Rag’, ‘Life Is a Cabaret’ and ‘Hello Dolly’.  We look forward to a return visit at some time in the near future.

Swing 23 – 15 October 2023:  This is the first time we have had a visit from this gypsy jazz and swing band but I am sure it will not be the last.  This concert was reminiscent of Parisian cafes, with rhythm, sensuousness and a delight to listen to.  The band comprises Julian Gregory on the violin, Matthew Compton on accordion, Peter Robinson on bass, Roger Keys on drums and Paul Hartley on guitar.   Many of the numbers were new to me so I had to take a sneak picture of their playlist.  I will not detail them all but will give you a flavour of their music:  ‘Bossa Dorado’, ‘Lady Be Good’, ‘Swing 39’, ‘Manoir de Mes Reves’ (Castle of My Dreams), ‘Padam Padam’, ‘Summertime’, ‘Minor Swing’, ‘Daphne’, ‘Undecided’, ‘Dark Eyes’, ‘Nuages’ and ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ to name but a few of the numbers they played.  I was in seventh heaven with two of my favourite but often missing instruments – the violin and the accordion.  I think I was not alone.

Baby Jools’ Jazzaholics – 8 October 2023:  This amazing band was welcomed back to the White Eagle Club where they are firm favourites.  Leader, ‘Baby’ Jools Aldridge, on drums, Warren ‘Lonnie’ James on banjo/guitar and vocals, Karl Hird on reeds, Mike ‘Magic’ Henry on trumpet/cornet, Mike Owen on trombone and vocals were joined on this occasion by Harold Worthington on double bass.  Some of their numbers included:  ‘Louisiana and Me’, ‘Having Fun on the Bayou’, ‘Since I Laid My Burden Down’, ‘When it’s Sleepy Time Down South’, ‘Some of these Days’, ‘Down by the Riverside’, ‘Jesus on the Mainline’, ‘Ain’t That A Shame’, ‘Down the Mississippi to New Orleans’, ‘All the Girls Go Crazy by the Way I Walk’ and ‘Those Were The Days’.   It was all there, jazz, rock’n’roll, country, spiritual, you name it.  A wonderful concert that everyone enjoyed.  See you soon Jazzaholics.

Dart Valley Stompers – 1 October 2023:   This band’s mission statement is “taking traditional jazz by storm” and they certainly live up to it.  The band consists of leader Jeremy Huggett on reeds and vocals, Kevin Grenfell on trombone and vocals, Howard Williams on guitar/banjo, Keith Tolley on double bass and Steve Street on drums.  Additionally we also had Will Robinson on trumpet to replace Graham Trevarton who is poorly.  They opened with ‘Exactly Like You’ and went on to play numbers like ‘Do I Love You – Oh My ‘Deed I Do’, ‘If Somebody Thinks Your Wonderful’, ‘I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter’, ‘I’m Confessing that I Love You’, ‘I’ve Found a New Baby’, ‘Isle of Capri’, ‘Hello Central Give Me Dr Jazz’, ‘Bei Mir Bistu Schoen (My Dear Mr Shane)’, ‘Maryland My Maryland’, ‘Way Down Upon the Swannee River’ and ‘Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone’.   A better bunch of musicians you’d be hard pressed to find and we would be delighted to see them again.

September 2023 Concerts

Sarah Spencer’s Transatlantic Band – 24 September 2023:  How lovely to see Sarah back with her Transatlantic Band.  There was an addition to the usual suspects this time (Mike Owen on trombone, Mike “Magic” Henry on trumpet, “Lord” Jim Swinnerton on string bass, Hugh Crozier on piano and Graham Smith on drums) with Jesper Capion Larsen on clarinet.  The session kicked off with ‘Beautiful Ohio’ and continued with some of the following numbers:  ‘Bogalusa Strut’, ‘Mecca Flat’, ‘Jelly Roll Blues’ – a lovely solo piano rag, ‘Breeze’, ‘Keep the Red Rag Flying’, ‘Take Me Back to My Boots and Saddle’, ‘Hit it Up’, ‘Pagoda Street Blues’, ‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart’, ‘Give Me A Kiss to Build A Dream On’ and ‘Papa’s Got The Jim Jams’.  The audience sprang to their feet at the conclusion of the second half – a good indication that it all went down well with them.   Look forward to seeing you back again soon.

Jeff Barnhart’s Swing Sophisticates – 17 September 2023:   Two delicious hours of good music and good humour – it just doesn’t get any better.  This fabulous foursome played their socks off.  The band consisted of Jeff Barnhart on piano, Anne Barnhart on flute, Wil Robinson on trumpet and flugelhorn and Nick Ward on percussion.  Vocals were shared amongst them.  Some of their numbers included:  ‘Avalon’, ‘Somebody Stole My Gal’, ‘Blue Turning Grey Over You’, ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, ‘Swing Baby Swing’, ‘My Blue Heaven’, ‘Louisiana Fairytale’, ‘Shine’, and ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Aint Got that Swing’.  However my new favourites were two I had not heard before – ‘Ashokan Farewell’ and ‘Back Water Blues’, both so beautiful that I could feel tears in my eyes.   We look forward to seeing them again.

Chicago Teddy Bears Society Jazzband – 20 September 2023:   First concert of the season – and we’re off!!  A good attendance saw this traditional New Orleans/Dixieland jazz band with Rae Owens (leader) on banjo and guitar, Brian Singleton on drums, Dean Revera on Bass, Andrew Mackenzie on trombone and vocals, John Padfield on reeds and Jim Lucas on trumpet.  Some of the numbers included:  ‘When You’re Smiling’, ‘Up A Lazy River’, ‘Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)’, ‘Georgia’, ‘Some of These Days’, ‘S’wonderful’, and an unbelievable Rae Owens doing George Formby and Rae Owens doing George Formby in the style of Johnny Cash – hilarious!   Good music, good humour, can there be a better combination … and what a lovely way to start a new season.

No Concert on 3 September 2023 (darts)

May 2023 Concerts

Pedigree Jazzband “Salute to Trad Jazz” – 28 May 2023:  Well this is it people – the last concert of the 22-23 season.  But what a way to exit!  The Pedigree Jazzband gave it their all, as always, and there could not have been a happier bunch of people on 28 May anywhere.   The Band – Chris Walker (leader) on clarinet, Tony Mann on trombone, Alan Bateman (on trumpet), John Noddings on banjo/guitar, Sy Gorelick on drums and Mike Bennett on double bass – gave us some lovely memories to go home with at the end of the day.  Their opening number was ‘The Bourbon Street Parade’ and this was followed by ‘Livery Stable Blues’, ‘Georgia on My Mind’, ‘It’s Time Like That’, ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’, ‘Buona Sera’, ‘Autumn Leaves’, ‘All I Do is Dream of You the Whole Night Through’, ‘You Gotta See Your Baby Tonight (or You Won’t See Baby at all)’, ‘Green Leaves of Summer’, ‘Teddybears Picnic’, ‘Blueberry Hill’, ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, ‘Shout em Aunt Tillie’ – a new one on me and one I liked very much, ‘You are My Sunshine’ and finally ‘Waiting for the Sunrise’.  A cracking programme played with pizzazz and the music got every foot in the place tapping.   We always look forward to seeing the Pedigree Band so, until September our season is over. 

Thanks as always went to Julie & Martin behind the counter of the Sunset Café for all their goodies, the staff of the White Eagle Club and Nick Balmforth and the whole committee for their work throughout the season.

Jeff & Anne Barnhart’s (USA) Sweet & Hot – 14 May 2023:  It is unbelievable that we have gone since 2018 since hearing this great quartet (4 years all lost due to covid).  Playing alongside Jeff on keyboard and vocals was wife Anne on flute and vocals, with Thomas ‘Spats’ Langham on banjo, guitar and vocals and Graham Smith – the surprise of the concert – not just on drums but also the washboard – who knew!  They opened with ‘Everybody Loves My Baby’, and went on with ‘What Can It Be If It Ain’t Love, ‘Baby, Baby You’re My Sweetheart’, ‘Mr Woo What Shall I do’ (played by Spats on an actual George Formby banjo owned by Jon Baddeley who kindly loaned it for this number, ‘Bernie’s Tune’, ‘C C Rider’, ‘The High Society Rag’, ‘100 Years from Today’, ‘New Orleans Shuffle’, ‘The Swinging Shepherd Blues’, ‘Running Wild’, ‘Poor Papa’, ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’, ‘Some of These Days’ and finishing up with ‘Cake Walking Babies from Home’.   Four supremely talented jazz musicians playing a wide range of musical styles with aplomb and great enthusiasm.  Hope we see them again in 2023/4.

Jane Williams’ Jazz Quintet featuring Andy Leggett – 7 May 2023:  This was a new band to SJS although we recognised some of the faces.  Jane Williams (leader) on the ukulele and vocals, Pete Mathison on guitar and vocals, Dave Deakin on string bass and trombone, Greg Evans on drums and Andy Leggett on saxophone opened with ‘Blue Skies’.   They went on to play, in no particular order, ‘After You’ve Gone’, ‘Black Coffee’ (which I just loved and had not heard before), ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, ‘Autumn Leaves’, ‘The Man I Love’, ‘Is You Is or Is You Ain’t my Baby’, ‘Everything but the Blues’, ‘Straighten Up and Fly Right’, ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing’, ‘The Man I love’, ‘Am I Blue’ and along with a few numbers not elaborated on they finished with ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’.  What a lovely voice Jane has and you can see why she was a backing vocalist for the iconic recording star Van Morrison.  Coming from the Land of Song it was good to know she will hopefully bring her band back to visit us in the coming year.

April 2023 Concerts

Mike Owen’s Scarlette’s Serenaders – 30 April 2023:  The band consists of Mike Owen (leader) on trombone and vocals, Zoltan Sagi on reeds, Ian Wynne on piano, Jim “Lord” Swinnerton on bass and ‘Baby’ Jools Aldridge on drums.  They opened with ‘Some Day Sweetheart’ and went on to give us ‘Why Don’t You All Go Down to New Orleans’, ‘One Step Two Step Cha Cha Waltz’, ‘All That I ask Is Love’, ‘Just Give me a June Night, the Moonlight and You’ , ‘Louisiana’, and finishing with ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams.  There was a piano solo when Ian played and sang ‘Tipitina’.  A great show enjoyed by all and we look forward to hearing them again.

Warren James’ “The Lonnie Donegan Story” – 23 April 2023:  With leader Warren James on guitar and banjo and vocals the rest of the band consists of Jim “Lord” Swinnerton on bass, ‘Baby’ Jools Aldridge on drums, Mike Owen on trombone and Howard Gregory on guitar.  They opened with ‘The Wabash Cannonball’ and went on to give us a terrific take on the Lonnie Donegan story, charting his rise from playing washboard in a skiffle group to international star.  Music over the concert included ‘On The Road Again’, ‘Won’t You Give Me a Bit of Water Sylvie’, ‘Oh My Grandfather’s Clock’ (where almost the whole room joined in), ‘Rock Island Line, ‘Take My Hand Precious Lord’, ‘I Hate to See the Evening Sun Go Down’, a song from the Film Jack of Diamonds ’65 Special’, ‘Going Home’, ‘Cumberland Gap’, ‘Tom Dooley’, ‘Midnight Special’, ‘Pick A Bale of Cotton’ (again the whole room joining in), ‘Putting on the Style’ and of course it had to have ‘Does Your Chewing Gum Lose its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight’.  Lonnie was a big collector of folk music and was blown away by hearing Beryl Brown singing at one of the first jazz venues.  He was called up for the Army and whilst stationed in Vienna he heard country music for the first time and loved it.   The whole room was electrified.  The performance given by Warren was simply magic.  We look forward to seeing him again in the near future.

NO CONCERT – 16 April 2023

Chicago Teddybears Society Jazzband – 9 April 2023:  Yes – they are back with us, four times winner of the SJS Band of the Year Award.  Leader, Rae Owens on banjo/guitar and vocals (and jokes & reminiscences), Brian Singleton on drums, John Padfield on reeds, Jim Lucas on trumpet, Andrew McKenzie on trombone and vocals and Deano Revera on bass.  They played their socks off with numbers like ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, ‘Red River Valley’, ‘Ain’t Misbehaving’, ‘Just a Little While’, ‘Exactly Like You’, ‘Shout ‘em’, ‘Thief of Baghdad’, ‘My Blue Heaven’, ‘Canal Street Blues’ and ‘Swing Low Sweet Charity’ when everyone in the room joined in.   Smashing concert.   We look forward to their return.

Slide by Slide – 2 April 2023:  Welcome back to Slide by Slide, with leader Kevin Grenfell on trombone, trumpet and vocals (and cheeky humour), Richard Leach also on trombone, Simon Smith on string bass, Richard Hughes on keyboard and Jack Cotterill on drums.   They opened with ‘Strike Up The Band’ and went on to give us the following renditions:

‘Give Me a Kiss to Build on Dream on’, ‘Going to New Orleans’, ‘Cry When Your Heart is Breaking’, ‘It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie’, ‘Blue Spanish Eyes’, ‘Georgie Girl’, ‘China Town’, ‘Tea for Two’, ‘Avalon’, ‘Mood Indigo’, ‘I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter’, ‘Sway’, ‘Watermelon Man’ and finished, as always with ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’.  A lovely mixture of old and new and well received by the audience who gave them a standing ovation.  See you soon fellas.